Archive for the ‘Your Fashion’ Category

The Science of Savvy Shopping!

In budget, Your Fashion, Your Guest Writers, Your Home on October 1, 2010 at 7:37 AM

(5 tips to a better quality of life)

By: Jennifer Brown Banks

In today’s tough times, there’s a special joy when we get a good deal for our hard earned buck. True? 

It almost feels as if we’ve cashed in at the lottery.

And with the housing crisis, double digit unemployment, and soaring consumer prices, we all need to save where we can.

But what few “divas” recognize is that being an “educated consumer” goes far beyond knowing the best stores to buy treasured items, or the debt cutting value of coupons. It’s much more.

This epiphany came to me recently when a friend of mine, while visiting my home, complimented my setting, (and the stuff I had acquired) while comparing it to hers.  Ironically, she makes more money than I do, and has similar circumstances.

For me my place is embraced as a “blessing”, while she views hers as a burdenShe often complains that her home is a money pit that she constantly puts cash into, but can’t get any real joy out of.

Because of this experience, I felt compelled to share my shopping secrets to enhance not just your ”surroundings”, but also your quality of life.

Here are a few cardinal rules.

  1. Know that it’s not “where” you shop, but “how” you shop that matters. Don’t believe me? Here’s proof. I’ve watched shows like Oprah and the Antique Road Show, (and no doubt you have too), where folks have scored items at garage sales, thrift stores, and specialty shops, for a couple of bucks, that were later appraised for thousands of dollars. Hello! Learn to spot quality.
  2. Recognize that there’s no value or validation in trying to keep up with the Joneses. One of the reasons that my friend “Wanda” is busted and disgusted, is that she’s constantly trying to establish her worth by buying what she feels will qualify her as being one of the “in”crowd. Big mistake. Instead, do you! As a point of reference, I don’t have cable. Never have. Though I enjoy T.V., so far it hasn’t impressed me enough to shell out extra money monthly for the idea of a few extra channels, (no matter how many million folks have it). Stop “perpetrating.”
  3. Consider that too much “impulse shopping” can lead to too little peace and buyer’s remorse. Evaluate. After you’ve taken a trip to your local mall and made purchases, how do you feel? Will your credit card payments last much longer than the life-cycle of the item (s) you’ve bought? Are you sacrificing paying an important bill to catch a deal? Your answers will determine your course of action.
  4. Keep in mind that your purchases should do more than just add to your “inventory”, they should add to your quality of life. For example, I love to buy house plants, beautiful baskets, books, fragrant candles, and unusual frames, because not only do they add to my décor, but they are reflective of my values and personal hobbies. Surround your surroundings with things that make you smile, that call to   mind special times, and are aesthetically pleasing. Make your place your personal sanctuary. 
  5. Accept that inner emptiness and low-self esteem can NOT be made better by “things.” It’s sad to say, but it’s true. Some folks shop to fill an emptiness. Whether it’s a bad marriage, a dysfunctional childhood, or feelings of inadequacy. Once they come down from their “shopper’s high” they’re in more debt and have even less that they feel good about. Don’t let this be you. There’s great truth to the adage, “Money can’t buy happiness.”

 With an uncertain economy, you can be certain that shopping habits from days of old can be detrimental to your finances and your family’s well being.  There’s no reason you can’t still be cute; just be smart as well!

And keep in mind that ain’t nothing cute about being “busted” and disgusted. 🙂


Jennifer Brown Banks is a veteran freelance writer, columnist, professional blogger and managing editor at Coffeehouse for Writers.

12 Simple Separates: Your Guide to Lookin’ Good and Feeling Great!

In Your Fashion, Your Guest Writers on August 1, 2010 at 11:03 AM

 by Heather Claus of 365 Days of Style



It’s a tough economy and times are tight. Everyone wants to cut expenses without giving up quality of life.

I do, too.

In fact, I’ve been learning to “tightwad” for over a decade. Sadly, I’ve not mastered it, but I have found a balance in my life. I prefer to spend money on priorities, rather than having it just dribble away with each purchase.

Thing is, I love fashion.

Well, not fashion, exactly. I love style. Personal style. I love to create my own style from what’s in fashion, what’s out of fashion (I’ve been a fan of vintage for 25 years), fun accessories, and even garments I design and sew myself. All that can get expensive.

I’m sure you know what I mean.

Add on top of that many of us live multiple lives. Home life, mommy life, social life, business life… that’s a lot of wardrobe – and a lot of moolah, if you’re not careful.

That’s why I created 12 Simple Separates. The goal behind this PDF is to teach you to purchase (or thrift or sew) just 12 basic garments that can be combined into 80 combinations. That’s FOUR MONTHS of work weeks without duplication. 12 garments make 90% of a work wardrobe. Just add shoes and accessories.

It’s not just about money, though. It’s also about time. Having a million options every morning can make getting dressed MORE complicated, not less. Having a set of clothing that you know fits, looks good and will work for the office makes hectic AM dressing a breeze.

Of course, this doesn’t just work for the office. A wardrobe for SAHM duty would use the same combinations of tops and bottoms, just in a more comfortable, casual style.

Are you a small business owner? It’s easy to put together a professional wardrobe on a budget, even when most of your time is spent working at home in your yoga pants (guilty!).

Thing is, getting your 12 basics together is cost-effective, and once you have them, you’ll have the time and money to put towards other priorities – like cute shoes! *smiles* Or gorgeous jewelry, a family vacation, car repairs…

This PDF will get you started. If you have questions, feel free to ask me here, or to email me directly at You can also visit and register at my site for weekly style lessons and new PDF files as I add them!

I’m Heather Claus, and I love style. I didn’t always, but once I learned I knew anyone could, so I taught. Register at for weekly style lessons, fashion giveaways, and daily style resources – and don’t forget to follow me on twitter! *smiles*

Sunglasses: The Ultimate Fashion Necessity

In You, Your Fashion on May 12, 2010 at 8:53 AM

We all know how the perfect hair-do, handbag or belt, makes a so-so outfit pop.  And we’ve all seen how rundown heels make even the best that haute couture offers a flop. The same fashion sense holds true for that key accessory that compliments your face. 

Sunglasses are the “it” accessory of the season.  And while, Katy Perry can rock a pair of aviator shades, the same style may not work for you. 

Finding the perfect pair of shades doesn’t have to be like Ponce De Leon’s quest for the Fountain of Youth; but if you don’t choose wisely, you’ll end up with the same results!  Truthfully, there’s nothing mystifying about it and it’s a lot easier than you think.  It’s simply a matter of knowing the shape of your face.

Follow the simple guidelines listed below and you too will be set to be this season’s hottest sunglass wearing diva!

Find the face shape that is most like yours, then look below for a description and frames that match. (Click image to enlarge)


Oval:  Lucky you!  Any style works well with your face.  For maximum “wow” power look for frames that are at least as wide as the broadest part of your face.

Suggestions:  Any Style 🙂

Rectangle & Oblong: Try frames that have embellishments or contrasting colors at the temples.  Round or square shapes that accentuate the center of your face play down long and narrow features.

Suggestions:  Curvy, Rounds, and Squares

Inverted Triangle & Heart: Play down a narrow forehead and wide chin by selecting frames that are brightly colored and oversized.  Splashes of color and wide frames balance out your face.

Suggestion: Cat Eyes

Square & Pear: Look for curved frames to soften and contrast the angles of your face.  This style also serves to slim and add a little length.

Suggestions:  Cat eyes, Ovals, and Rounds

Round:  Opt for frames that make your face look slimmer and longer. Straight or angular frames make a nice contrast by minimizing curves and adding definition. 

Suggestions: Angular and Rectangular styles

Diamond:  Your face is defined by high cheekbones with a slender forehead and chin. Soften your angles by choosing frames that are oval, or curvy. Take it to the next level by going rimless! 

Suggestions:  Oval, Rounds, Rimless

The secret to finding the perfect pair of shades is self-reflection. This season, make sure you put your best face forward by wearing shades match the contours of your face.  With a little know-how you too will be a fashionista!  🙂

Having trouble decided your shape?  Check out Len’s Crafter’s interactive “What’s Your Face Shape” finder.  For best results, upload your photo, or if you’re feeling a bit shy, select one of their models instead.



Good to Know!

In You, Your Fashion, Your Food, Your Health, Your World on March 24, 2010 at 7:52 PM

Sit or Squat

Plug your zip code or address into Sit or Squat   to locate a public restroom anywhere in the world!  Go mobile with your IPhone, ITouch, BlackBerry and SMS text.

Red is the New Black

According to the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, men are more attractive to women wearing red as opposed to other colors. 

Try a New Polish

This year’s colors are bold, bright and vibrant: from neon yellows to trendy blues and metallic golds to timeless nudes

Break Out the Popcorn

A study by the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania found that popcorn and whole grains have as many antioxidants as vegetables.

Get Your Shine On With WD-40

Spray a little WD on leather shoes and purses, then buff to a shine with a clean cloth. Also adds a layer of protection from nature’s elements.


Tangerine Sparkles


2Cs orange-tangerine juice

3Cs ginger ale

8 chilled glasses filled with crushed ice

Pour juice over glasses, garnish with orange or tangerine slices.

How Not to Bust Your Wedding Budget on the Ring

In Your Fashion, Your Guest Writers on March 17, 2010 at 5:55 AM

How to Buy an Engagement Ring on a Budget


It’s a beautiful milestone in your life!  You’re about to get married to the love of your life.  Now, you need to decide on the ring and nowadays many couples are shopping together.  The first thing you’ll want to do is start fresh.  Don’t start with preconceived notions about how an engagement ring is “supposed” to be.  Once you throw out the assumptions, the possibilities are endless. 

One way to cut costs is by getting a smaller carat weight.  You can save a lot of dough this way.  Look at the different carat weights side by side.  If you can’t tell the difference or the difference doesn’t make it any less beautiful, why spend the extra money?

Another way to cut costs is by changing the metal.  Perhaps you’re stuck on the idea and the look of platinum.  Take a look at white gold! It’s less expensive, but still a lifelong wearable metal with the same look and feel.

Look at smaller stores, family jewelry, and estate sales.  Just because it says Tiffany & Co. on the box doesn’t make it any less beautiful, but it really has an impact on the cost.  The bigger the brand name, the bigger the retail markup.  Don’t get sucked into the “big name” just because it’s a momentous moment.

Does your family have jewelry?  It doesn’t have to be an engagement ring.  It could be different rings, diamond earrings, or a diamond pendant.  The diamonds can be transferred by a jeweler to an engagement ring setting.  There!  You’ve just saved money on the main diamond, which may free up the funds for accent diamonds in a setting of your choice.

You’ve probably already heard about the 4 C’s: Cut, color, clarity, and carat weight.  But what you might not know is that if your diamond falls between D and H on the color scale, most people won’t be able to see major differences with an untrained naked eye.  If that is not an aspect that ranks really high on your search, you can save a lot of money by getting a lower color grade.  This same concept applies to clarity!  Basically, you go from flawless to imperfect.  Cut the corner a little bit, still as beautiful and beautiful on your wallet.

Shop!  Look at your options and different stores.  Take a look at what you like and then compare your bargains.  You want to get the best deal for the “right” ring.  Decide what’s most important to you, and find it.  Look around online, look at auctions (online and off,) look at the big names – Hey, even if you don’t want to pay the big markup, you can take advantage of their marketing budget and look at the gorgeous photos.  Know what you’re looking for and then hunt.

The bottom line is this: more money does not equal a “better” ring.  More money does not equal a happier marriage.  Be smart, and you’ll both be ecstatic.

About the Author:  Sarah Harris is the Marketing Manager at Adiamor. 

Adiamor offers a large selection of engagement ring settings, loose diamonds and other fine diamond jewelry at affordable prices.

Your Fashion – Guest Writer

In Your Fashion on March 4, 2010 at 8:16 AM


By: Jennifer Brown Banks



Times are tough.  But that doesn’t mean that you have to relinquish your “diva” status to save a few bucks. You can cut corners without cutting quality. Don’t get it twisted. 🙂

Way before the economy “went south”, I’m proud to say I was shopping on a beer budget with champagne taste. And you can too.

Here are some of the tricks of the trade:

  1. Learn to spot quality—I’ve always believed that its’ not where you shop, but how you shop that matters.  I’ve gotten all kinds of kudos and compliments on my designer rags, antique items, and other trinkets scored from thrift stores. That’s right, thrift stores.  The key to success is shopping at some of the finer, high end outlets. Depending upon where you search for your “treasures,” you’ll find name brands, new merchandise, and unique stuff that will allow you to be pretty as well as practical. Know that not all thrift stores are created equally.
  2. Stop trying to keep up with the Joneses. In the words of Vivica Fox, “Do you.” Carbon copy cuteness played out with 8-track tapes!
  3. Comparison shop—Don’t be wooed by the first “sale” sign. Typically some stores will offer better deals than others, depending on what you’re in the market for, the type of store, and the time of year. 
  4. Barter, baby! Low on cash but high on needed resources? Find a few friends and associates that would be willing to exchange your goods and services for theirs. In the last few months, I’ve gotten free accounting work, decorating services, and other things for my creative writing services. 

 Follow these 4 tips and you’ll learn to live like a queen on a pauper’s pay!

*Jennifer Brown Banks is a veteran freelance writer, relationship columnist and Blogger who believes in “living well for less”. Visit her site at


How do you maintain your “Diva Status” in today’s tough economy?  LW welcomes your comments.

Your Fashion – Spring 2010 Jewelry

In Your Fashion on February 27, 2010 at 8:39 PM


Vintage Champagne Faux Pearl Multi Strand Necklace with Art Deco Clasp $ Tonight In Paris

This season’s pieces are sparkly and bold.  Bib necklaces, Swarovski crystals, pearls 

Crystal Clear, Vintage Glass Jewel Earrings $14.00 by SSSJ

 chains and beads are just a few of  

Large Collar Bib Crystal Chandelier and Silver Cluster Necklace $10 by First Fan

 the essentials.  Look through your jewelry collection before going shopping to see what you already own and set aside pieces you can add to, to make a set.  Look for gemstone colors that are bright and clear; go bold by combining several colors together. Popular gemstones: rose quartz, peridot, blue lace agate, and blue topaz.  

These pieces are found at Click on images for more information. 


Vintage Cream Colored Faux Pearl Button Earrings $7 by Tonight In Paris

Vintage Silver Filigree Dangle Earrings $12.00 by Tonight In Paris

Vintage Gold Tone Mesh Avon Belt Bracelet $16.00 by Tonight In Paris

Royal Blue Vintage Earrings $14 by Hot Pink Chick

Your Fashion

In Your Fashion on February 24, 2010 at 1:53 AM

Find the Perfect Pair of Shorts   

It may not seem like it, but warmer weather is on the way.  When it finally arrives, play up your legs with these hard-working styles.  If you are …  

1.  Petite:  Keep it short with a medium rise that elongates your torso.    

1. Petite Perfect Khaki Shorts $22.50 Old Navy

2.  Slender:  Narrow, straight cuts complement your shape.    

2. Low-Rise Perfect Khaki Bermudas $7.99 on Sale at Old Navy


3.Curvy: Try a  straight cut that ends an inch or so above your knee.   

3. Tribeca City Shorts in Mink - Kiyonna $28.00

4.  Hippy:  Look for a simple fitted style.  

4. Plus Size Mossimo® Linen Cargo Shorts - $9.99 Target








Bonus Savings  

Try swapping  NYC Extra Shiny Top Coat ($.99) for pricy department store brands that cost as much as $20.  The secret is in how often you apply the product, not the brand.  For best results apply daily. 

Looking for a new pair of earrings?  Try buying handmade at 

Skeleton Key Drop Earrings- by Days Long Gone $20